What are Night Terrors?
Night terrors can be, for a lack of a better term, downright terrifying. Usually presenting in children from the ages of 3 to 12, peaking around 3 ½ to 4 years. It can also occur in adults, though it is less common to see past puberty. Night terrors are different than nightmares, but they, usually, aren’t anything to worry about.
Not all of these symptoms will present themselves, but these are the most common.
- Siting up in bed suddenly
- Screaming or shouting
- Kicking and thrashing
- Heavy breathing
- Elevated heart rate
- Hard to wake up
- Crying inconsolably
- Staring wide-eyed
- Engaging in aggressive behavior (more common in adults)
Typically, night terrors begin after about an hour and a half of sleep. The patient will often sit up in bed and scream. They often seem to be awake, but very confused, unresponsive, and disoriented. They often will not respond to any comforting, and adults have often been known to lash out.
Luckily, the episodes usually don’t last long. The episodes typically last for just a few minutes, though it can take half an hour or more for the patient to calm down enough to return to sleep. Children especially don’t seem to remember anything of the night terror after the fact.
While night terrors, in and of themselves, aren’t a cause for worry, you should seek a doctor’s help if the terrors:
- Happen frequently
- Routinely disrupt sleep of the patient or the family
- Cause the patient, or the family, to fear going to sleep
- Lead to dangerous behavior or injury
- Appear to follow the same pattern each time
There is no surefire treatment for night terrors, as children will more often than not grow out of them. The most common way to handle night terrors is managing the patient’s sleep schedule. Management primarily consists of educating family members about night terrors and making sure that they understand that the episodes are not harmful. Apnix Sleep Diagnostics can help your family find the right way to help your family deal with night terrors.